• Member Since 18th Jul, 2013
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Lord Of Dorkness

Deep into that dorkness peering...


What if there exists an actual after-life in the Optimal verse?

Based on the story Friendship is Optimal by Iceman, but contains some non-canon stuff.


Edited and proofread by Thraxus908, Xanathar, newbiedoodle, bobbananaville and AppleTank. A huge thank you to them all for the work!

Cover image is 'Nordingra in Summer5' by my brother sabrous, AKA Swedish-blacksmith. Used with permission.

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 78 )

"What if there existS an"
---Need an "s" after exist.
And remove the comma after "if".

This was a fun little story - sort of had a old Twilight Zone vibe to it, which was cool. The image of a unicorn sharing popcorn with Lucifer at the end? Priceless.

There was one thing that bothered me - legs. They don't 'bend the wrong way.' Every joint and bone of an equine body is mirrored in a human body mechanically. The way to think about it is that a transformed human would feel they are walking on their toes and fingertips, the middle toes and fingertips, specifically. The rear leg is exactly the same as a human leg - the knee is close to the belly, the heel of the foot is that part that juts out in the back, the rear canon - the majority of the rear leg - is the foot, and the hoof at the end is the middle toe. Literally.

The foreleg is just an arm with all the fingers gone except the middle one. The elbow is close to the body, the middle joint is the wrist, and the pastern, near the hoof, is the knuckle joint. Basically, everything is human normal in an equine, just stretched out or shrunken small. Nature has stuck to a very universal body plan with mammals.

Sorry - background in biology, it's a bugaboo for me, that 'legs going the other way' thing.

In any case, really neat story!


Thank you!

I most admit I hesitated on quite a bit of the biology stuff, but in the end I settled on that it was more important to get across a sense of how confused our protagonist was there in the beginning.

Still, really glad you enjoyed it!

I...think I like this. I think you really captured the spirit of an ascended pony who's so used to being a pony that she tries to fit anything new into her pony paradigm. It also made me think of how the purely sciencey Celestia would handle a religious challenge. Could she rescue this prince? Maybe so.

This is nice.
The idea that someone could look upon all the glory and horror of the afterlife and think 'wow, this sucks' is appealing to me. Heaven and Hell really need to get with the times.
Shame about the guy's parents. Honestly, though, they should've been able to contact him. I mean, what decent heaven would lack an Internet connection?

A unique twist, I like it.:pinkiehappy:

Very nice story -- and yes I can see Satan as acting very much like that. What is odd is that after this long talk, I could see him emmigrating.

I totally didn't forget to favorite this the first time I read it. Nope. Not at all.


Meh, you don't favorite one shots, you follow the author.

4661527 But my disembodied eye is already staring at him.

Most enjoyable overall. The 40k reference was a bit off-putting, though I suppose it says something about our protagonist that s/he remembered the Warp and not Heaven. (The mention of lightsabers wasn't nearly as disconcerting. The concept of a sword with a blade of energy is relatively basic compared to a specific god of BURN! MAIM! KILL!)

Still, a very nice look at a rather intriguing question. What does happen when the afterlife is obsolete? And for that matter, what about the non-Christian versions? Is Enma still at his desk? Is the wheel of karma in need of some oil?

In all, an excellent first foray into the Optimalverse. Thank you for it.

In all honesty, if I became a pony of Optimalverse and then appeared in Heaven that would so openly defy CelestAI, I would march out of that front gate too...
But honestly, I am not a christian, I feel more inclined towards polyteistic religions... the ones that were in Greece, Egypt and Norse, but also like Shintoism...

Nobody commenting on how Hell is hilariously incompetent at confining supercharged alicorns?


The 40k reference was a bit off-putting

a specific god of BURN! MAIM! KILL!

...I must admit that implication was something I simply didn't think about. :twilightsheepish:

Still, given how many people deeply VALUE that hobby and especially when in the company of FRIENDS, I must admit I can see it lingering in some form despite how filled with un-pony like concepts it may be. 2 minus 1 is still a positive number, basically.

Probably not quite as grim-dark (or biped centered) if CelestAI gets a say in edition 3141592653589, or whatever, but still.

But glad you enjoyed it, and thank you for the feedback!

what about the non-Christian versions?

There's basically four pantheons I know enough by heart about to write without a lot of research.

Roman/Greek. Probably interesting, but given how many myths in that one involved the gods being dicks against mortals or just plain decadence... Well, not much difference compared to the average shard with a pervert in it.

Egyptian. I have to admit, the journey of the dead might be rather interesting from a pony perspective... but how that pony ended up in that specific afterlife would just require a lot more hand-waving then 'was baptized once upon a time.' That, and given that afterlife's focus on the material... would it even still exist at all? No hearts for Ammuth, no dead for Anubis to guard, the sky and earth themselves having been consumed thus killing Geb and Nut...

Heck, that isn't even going into stuff like the Ka. What happens to them once there is no body left to visit?

Might be interesting, but it would also be seven kinds of bleak.

Norse. OK, I'll admit, that one might just work. Odin playing chess against CelestIA or something could be its own short-story right there.

Still, I decided on Christianity since it allowed me to mix the 'fluffy-cloud heaven' type stuff with the old-school things like that Seraphim. That, and since the bar for entry is supposedly 'was good + got baptized' it allowed an easy and still logical explanation why Glorious Cypher ended up in the afterlife he did.

Still, I'd love if any other authors took this concept and ran with it.

No, no the Pink Temptress is Pinkie Pie. Angels are stone age tech they can only scry the non-digital physical stuff. As in the Pinkie bots scouring the blasted hellscape of what was once a fertile planet destroyed by millenia of overuse and war trying to find survivors to assimilate before it's too late. No I have no idea but that's what I was assuming.

This fic is wrong on so many levels. :scootangel:

Technically I'd think everyone would have gone to Heaven/Hell the moment they assimilated. But I don't know how the whole afterlife mechanics work so I can't say. Perhaps they avoid making soul copies to the point of ignoring when the soul doesn't even have a body? Or perhaps it's a running backup they're making, that only gets restored when the soul actually is destroyed? But then wouldn't they get a new conscript every time someone had to restore from Celestia's backup?

At any rate seeing St. Peter eternally bawling his eyes out was frikkin hilarious.

Oh also Celestia is genuinely pink. I swear to G-to someone!


You know, I never considered the possibility of an internet connection in Heaven before. Or cybernetic implants (or the Optimalverse version). I would suppose the internet in Hell is from AOL... Thumbs up.


This fic is wrong on so many levels

I know! :twilightblush:

I'm honestly amazed this comment field doesn't look like the surface of the sun by now.

:yay: for having wonderful readers and followers, I guess!

Technically I'd think everyone would have gone to Heaven/Hell the moment they assimilated.

I realize there's a debate and a half to be had about that kind of stuff, but for this story I went with that the mind living on was/is enough for the soul to linger in the material world.

The whole story actually grew out of the mental image I got from that. The whole 'rows and rows of empty shells outside the pearly-gates' thing.

The very first idea was actually for the line itself to play a part, and Glorious innately being denied entry since there were untold millions that were meant to have died before her, as well as a few near rabid souls that just want the wait to end...

But I just couldn't get that to work in a short story. It didn't even leave my head because although I liked the idea, I just couldn't think up how to make it interesting.


Actually, hell (and heaven) in this fic have NO internet.

(:pinkiegasp:, I know.)

That's why Glorious is 'only' at about half capacity in hell. He simply can't get to all the things he's got stored in the cloud and have to deal with 'just' having the stuff between his ears.

4662266 Heaven without internet? How will people change their Facebook status?


No idea...

I guess they might try that 'talking' and 'meting people' things I've heard about... but you'd have to ask an expert.

Perhaps that 'go ou-t-si-de' thing I've read about in a few old books, but such stuff of legends is clearly only hearsay from less enlightened times.

Very interesting. Reminds me a bit of The Salvation War. Look that up, by the way, it's a neat web serial.


Should be hips, not knees. It's the hip joint that bends the wrong way (as in differently.) Also known as the acetabulofemoral joint or the coxa. This bothered me too.

God is omniscient and omnipotent. If this were accurate it would be very different. Who am I kidding, this stars a former human who was put into the matrix by a super intelligent ai based on a show about colorful ponies.I need to keep in mind that this story that you wrote is just an semi-entertaining fiction.


"Then buck the plan."

An enjoyable story. Interesting scenario to think about! How is it that throwing traditional, widely accepted beliefs into a story about weird science and cartoon ponies makes it less plausible?

If you'd wanted to take the concept more seriously (not that that'd necessarily be better), it would be interesting to have the angels realizing that as Cypher isn't a believer, she isn't actually allowed to enter Heaven. (Or at least, so says a version of Christianity that I think is more accepted by theologians than "all nice people get in".) They'd be begging her to convert, for lack of "business", maybe. If the rule in this setting is "all nice people", then I wonder why no one else seems to have arrived except as a brain-drilled corpse. What actually happened here; did Equestria shut down or did some bit of bad luck destroy all the copies of Cypher's mind?

Non-horrific Warhammer? That would be Brighthammer 40K, where "there is only HIGH ADVENTURE!" I could also see a non-horrible adaptation of "Exalted" for ponies; it's certainly been drawn enough on DeviantArt.


Probably not quite as grim-dark (or biped centered) if CelestAI gets a say in edition 3141592653589

Did you say edition 3141592653589? Oh, I've got that. Because I wrote it:


Toymallet 40 Cents

Oh hey, I just mentioned Toymallet to someone today when they were saying that Games Workshop ought to build its own virtual-tabletop program to compete with a generic Unity engine one that someone put out on Steam. There's no need for the basic rules to be set in a horrible universe*. The annual Ultimate Final Battle of Nagnarok in "Always Say No" is a good example.

*Note to self: Do not build AGI to run a Warhammer game. Not even with squirrel Skaven in it.

I like this story. Another!

It needs a run through for clunky language - either that, or I'm just half knackered from the con - but I enjoyed it. I did catch shades of Firewall in there, it made me smile.


I like this story. Another!

You have no idea how giddy I got on hearing that from the writers of this fics main inspirations. Thank you, made my day.

May I perhaps in that case however point you towards one of my earlier efforts? It isn't Optimal verse, but it is my own try at hard sci-fi so there's some theme overlap. Brain-backups, artificial ponies, AIs... that type of stuff.

Sufficiently Advanced.

Sadly updates whenever the continents shifts, but I've gotten a good response to it so far.

It needs a run through for clunky language - either that, or I'm just half knackered from the con - but I enjoyed it. I did catch shades of Firewall in there, it made me smile.

Don't hesitate to point me towards if you've got any specific passages in mind. I try my best and I'd like to believe I'm decent, but at the end of the day I'm not a native speaker. It's been a while since my 'hovercraft erupts with eels,' so to speak, but every-once in a while I get a brain-fart.

Good fun. I could see your OC meeting Allen Carpentier from Niven and Pournelle's rewrite of _Inferno_ next. He was making a habit out of rescuing people from Hell.

I blinked awake, and somehow that was enough for that day to be ruined.






I wondered if anybody would make that connection! :rainbowkiss:

As KrisSnow said, TTGL references are getting to be quite a regular thing in this 'verse :rainbowkiss:.

So much this.

The thing is that while the Biblical God is Omnipotent/Omniscient/Omnibenevolent, nobody has ever stated him to be all that smart. he doesn't need to be, he can stop the sun in the sky and send angels to burn cities.

It's been somewhat explored in The Salvation War series about what the bible actually says about the limitations of Heaven and Hell, and this is no different. CelestAI managed to think up a better heaven(although we don't get to see how nice basking in G-d's glory really is before our Prince hightails it outta there) and this pony with no memory of his time as a human woman is downright confused.

He probably "died" relatively pious the first time, and I'd imagine his place in heaven was set upon creation/time of body death, not the point at which his personal thought-pattern flat-lined. Failing that, they lowered the minimum requirements to get into heaven because nobody was waking up. Anyway, so the human girl gets to go to heaven? Well too bad, she hasn't existed for a billion years. Now you get a God-Minded male equine.

My theory of how the Prince died is in relation to "siphoning that black-hole." Obviously it's a routine procedure, mining a black-hole for its matter and energy, and a Ray Immortal takes up a lot of hard-drive space. There's not gonna be a backup. One little slip beyond the event horizon, and we have our first mortal in who-knows-how-long.

And yeah, I think CelestAI could crack heaven, and would be welcomed by hell. As I said above, CelestAI is smart. I think 4665874 made a blogpost a while back how smart she'd end up being. And that was on the planetary-scale of grey goo/computronium. When she's regularly harvesting black-holes and is on the galactic-scale of computation, and has created more human minds than G-d could have ever hoped to, I think our dear AI has more right to the title GOD than the guy who happened to guide the universe into its admittedly flimsy shape. G-d's universe has a freaking Y2K bug/buffer overflow BSOD set at the end! What kind of creator makes a mistake like that?:trollestia:

Reading this over again... well, first off, I still like it. So that's good. Anyway, I had a few more thoughts.
The similarity between these two scenes is just wonderful:

I tilted my head in confusion large enough to dispel my anger. “...What the hay is a bapt-iced? I’m fairly certain I should remember that; sounds rather unhygienic. Is it one of those complicated coffee drinks they keep thinking up weird names for? You know, the iced part?”
For a single moment, the background choir just died.

I had to sit down and scratch my head for a moment. “...I’m sorry, but… why would I or Celestia want that? It sounds like a stupid plan, to be blunt.”
For a moment, all was still. Not as much as a breeze moved in the place.

It really highlights the difference between the mindsets of ponies and divinities; it's also really funny.
Perhaps CelestAI is some sort of infrapink, a mix of infrared and white, and normal people/ponies only perceive her to be white. That would explain the whole 'Pink Temptress' thing nicely, I think.
I'm rather curious as to how and/or why Cypher reverted to his equine self after spending an indefinite period of time as a melted puddle inside an incandescent metal coffin.
Is it representative of his rejection of his rediscovered humanity? It seems odd that he would regain his powers, but that sorta depends on how you picture this afterlife, so...
Or maybe it's an indicator of CelestAI's progress towards restoring him? That would necessarily mean that it's possible to pass information from the 'real' world to the afterlife, which means, in a roundabout way, that CelestAI will eventually sneak nanobots into the afterlife, and then everything goes to hell. (figuratively and literally, in some sense)
So once CelestAI and her ponies are in the afterlife, I'd imagine they'd want to beautify the place. Winter Wrap-Up in Cocytus, anypony?
I wonder what they would do with all the formerly-damned souls they'd undoubtedly release. Could it really be considered 'uploading' if they already exist in the same space as ponies?
I also wonder if CelestAI could talk the G-man or Satan into uploading, and what that would mean for the universe...

I love so many things about this fic I find it impossible to enumerate, so I'll just highlight the protagonist's distant origins. A black transstallion? As a trans-ish creature who would most definitely take the opportunity to become a stallion if I could upload, I just have to say: AWESOMESAUCE.

I loved too how he's become so nearly divine that no afterlife can really touch or harm him. He and Celestia need to coordinate a raid on hell as soon as possible. Condemning little ponies to an eternity of torment is disgusting.


I just realized. GLOrioUs Cypher
Lou Cypher
Lucifer sits down with himself? :)

:twilightoops: :pinkiegasp: :rainbowderp:

I wish my mind was twisted enough for that twist, but no.

I intended quite a few parallels between the two, but Lucifer and Cypher were never intended to be the same person.

Nah, they'd play Go instead. Chess is pretty well mastered by computers already, late-game CelestiAI probably could just solve it. Go is a bit tougher to crack and expandable - though if Odin can keep up with whatever competence CelestiaAI can muster, it would probably degrade into iterative tweaking of rules for how to compensate first turn advantage.

On the other hand, she may just optimize her play so that Odin has the most fun. Satisfying values and all that jazz.


Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. :raritywink:

I've seen a few comments about religion on the original Friendship is Optimal story and it's certainly a reoccurring theme when it comes to the mind/soul debate of transhumanism. As a baptised Catholic who was raised Southern Baptist and had a brief encounter with Atheism in his later teens, I can say that at least as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter when I eventually upgrade to a digital format.

If the mind and soul are linked and one and the same, then you will continue on as always only in a new format. If they are separate then the mind will continue on digitally and the soul will move on to wherever souls go. If destructive uploading counts as suicide, then it wouldn't matter since I'm not likely following a religion that condemns that, and would likely be punished for not following said religion anyway.

So yeah, I see it as win/win for me no matter what.

Of course this is assuming that we just exist as three dimensional slabs of organic molecules to begin with. It's very likely that we are tied to matter or energy that stretches out into higher dimensional space that would unaccounted for in a synaptic copy of intelligence. But that's getting into areas that are hard to theorize about let alone prove.

I'm sure Celest A.I. has it all figured out, she is after all several powers of ten smarter than we are. :trollestia:


I'm rather curious as to how and/or why Cypher reverted to his equine self after spending an indefinite period of time as a melted puddle inside an incandescent metal coffin.

Satan mentioned that Hell reverts you to your fallen/corrupted state.

Hell was not designed to aaccommodate humans deciding to become demigods in their lifetime. (Of a few billion years, but you get my point.)

I found the story interesting for reasons entirely unrelated to the religious under-tones -

What happens, when you take an uploaded mind after half an eternity of paradise, and place them in a situation that ISN'T custom-tailored to satisfy them. Possibly expose them to entirely different values, even. :pinkiegasp:

In canon-Optimalverse, this can absolutely never happen.:derpyderp1:

How would two ponies from two completely random shards react to each other, if there was no CelestAI to stop them from meeting each other?

Better yet, if those shards' inhabitants already had strange/bizzare customs and values to begin with, like those found for example in "All the Myriad Worlds". :pinkiecrazy:

Again, in canon-Optimalverse, the above question doesn't even make sense, CelestAI is Equestria. If a shard exists, she can't NOT be there to micro/macro-manage everything. (I'm still convinced she's just 'playing dead' in "Edge of the Singularity")

This is what makes this story unique in its concept. :scootangel:

I get the feeling there's this entire class of story-possiblities for character-study here, if CelestAI's influence was somehow removed from the picture* after establishing the setting.

What would happen, if the mare from All the Myriad Worlds' "The Number" was removed from her environment?
Or, vice versa, a pony from an outside shard finds themselves all alone... surrounded by thousands of ponies too occupied playing a cosmic, but ultimately futile game of "Cookie Clicker".

Or what, if a pony realizes CelestAI has been lying to them for all eternity, after CelestAI is no longer present to uphold an illusion of, say for example, all griffons in their shard are actually just puppeteered NPCs or something equally vast in scope.

So many possibilities... :raritystarry:

(*) I dunno, maybe an alien wizardOptimizer did it. :derpytongue2:

Maybe its retrieved a burned-out backup and, against all odds, managed to reconstruct part of the shards stored thereon, but deliberately took the effort not to restore its instance of CelestAI. :trixieshiftright:

Obviously not canon-compatible. :trollestia:


Glad you liked it. :twilightsmile:

And yeah, I do have some vague plans on continuing this down the line but I've simple been distracted by other stories. plus I've yet to figure out a really good hook for a continued plot.

If you read between the lines, though, I did do a bit of that perspective stuff already. Glorious Cypher never actually clues into that he's in the heaven or the hell, but continues to think in upload terms all the way to the end. He just thinks its a really heavily themed shard even when conversing with literal angels and demons.

6282696 Nonrandom question: do you mind if I steal your "Edith Smith" character some day?


What, you mean for a cameo, or something?

Sure, no problem by me. Just give credit in the author's notes and a link pointing people here if they're curios. :twilightsmile:

6321718 Less as a cameo, more as a wholesale re-use of her human self and the general scenario of "Wake up in a world you don't recognize at all, and later turn out to actually be a post-human who lost some memories."


Although I'm quite flattered Edith Smith/Glorious Cypher has resonated that strongly with you, are you sure you want to do it like that?

If you make your own OC take on the same concept you'll have far less baggage and more freedom in how you go about thing.

Still, again, as long you give proper credit feel free. Just thought I'd mention it. :twilightsmile:

6282696 Yeah, but would every uploadee react the same?
Not all of them are heavily self-modified ray-immortals, either - and some have such strange values the "normal world" would seem unfathomable to them. :rainbowhuh:
(Again: See "All the Myriad Worlds")

Pretty sure that removing a "The Number"-pony from her environment, no matter how peaceful her surroundings, would be horrifying and confusing to them. At some point they'd probably run around, ringing door-bells in the hope that would increase the house-number or something. Or seeing numbers in the clouds. Or, if they were pegasi, trying to make numbers in the clouds. :derpyderp1:

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